Relationships Trump!

Spring is definitely here and summer is right around the corner. What a great time for renewing existing relationships and developing new ones as well.

If anyone has a proven way to develop new business - and generate consistent, high quality leads - without putting time into building meaningful relationships, I hope you will share your secret with all of us.

Otherwise, I will stand by the statement that we are all in a relationship profession, and as such, most of our best opportunities generate from either existing clients or from loyal colleagues who are influential in the business community and who enjoy speaking on our behalf.

If we agree that relationships are critical to business development, then the question for everyone is: how much time do you invest in networking within targeted markets where you are most likely to meet others who you can help and who will, in return, add value for you?

Mutually beneficial relationships built on trust and respect do not happen quickly - so the sooner you get started, the better off you are. You just can't afford to use the "I have no time to do this" excuse. As my father (also my first mentor) used to say, "Everyone has to eat lunch - you may as well use that time to strengthen or start a relationship." He was right, but it is a practice that many CPAs avoid. To so many it seems awkward to try to get a relationship started, but you don't need to go it alone. Invite others who can also benefit from the connection. Along with scheduling individual breakfast or lunch meetings, you can also identify business events to attend in your community that attract the professionals who fit the profile of your best prospects. The tighter your definition, the more successful your connections are likely to be!

I urge you to use the longer daylight to arrange some after-work "get togethers" or leverage quality time on the golf course this summer. It doesn't matter where you are - it is how you use the time you have allotted for relationship building that really matters! Give it a try and share your stories; just remember to be patient.

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Sally Glick, CMO, Principal, Marketer of the Year in 2003 and AAM Hall of Famer in 2007, will lead a lively discussion of the constantly expanding roles of marketing and the professional marketers that drive this initiative in accounting firms of all sizes.

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